Top Things to Do in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin | Midwest Living

Top Things to Do in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

Most people come to Elkhart Lake for weekends of swimming, boating and water-skiing on the 286-acre lake. But there's plenty more to do here in this town of about 1,000 people, just over an hour's drive north of Milwaukee.

What to do

Elkhart Lake The spring-fed, blue-green lake calls to paddlers, sailors, fishermen, water skiiers and more. Explore on your own or rent a boat from one of several area businesses.

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Elkhart Lake. Photo courtesy of the Elkhart Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Kettle Moraine State Forest Just northwest of town, find hundreds of miles of trails for biking, hiking and running. Take the 3.5-mile Parnell Tower Trail to get a panoramic view of the forest from the top of a 60-foot observation tower.

Queen Anne Carriage Rides Learn about Elkhart Lake's history during a horse-drawn carriage ride. Highlights include tales of Al Capone and John Dillinger.

Road America A world-renowned 4-mile racetrack draws visitors and has been a favorite of racers (and racing fans) since it opened in 1955.

Road America. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Road America. Photo courtesy of the Elkhart Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Two Fish Gallery and Sculpture Garden Shopping in Elkhart Lake should include a stop here, where works from about 70 regional and national artists are displayed in a Mission-style bungalow.

The Wade House In Greenbush, about 12 miles southeast of Elkhart Lake, costumed interpreters lead tours of a 19th-century stagecoach inn and visitors explore a carriage museum.

Where to eat

Barefoot Tiki Bar at Victorian Village Resort Gorgeous lake views and alfresco dining complement great drinks, pizzas and sizzling burgers.

Lake Street Cafe The casual dining side offers funky, beer-inspired decor and wood-fired pizzas; the fine-dining side has one of Wisconsin’s longest wine lists and entrees like sesame-seared tuna.

L'ecole de la Maison Culinary School Prepare a multi-course dinner alongside others with the guidance of an expert chef at the Osthoff Resort.

L'ecole de la Maison Culinary School.  Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

L'ecole de la Maison Culinary School. Photo courtesy of the Elkhart Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Off the Rail Cafe Enjoy breakfast and lunch sandwiches with names like Signal Box Tuna Melt and Flying Scotsman Bagel in Elkhart's original depot.

Paddock Club The seasonal menu tends toward European, with dishes such as grilled hanger steak with red wine veal sauce.

Stop-Inn Tavern Racing memorabilia decorates the walls at this Siebkens Resort spot, considered the best bar on the racing circuit. Check the website for the live entertainment schedule.

Where to stay

The Jay Lee Inn Bed and Breakfast Relax is one of the seven well-appointed guest rooms at the 1902 home or kick back in a sitting room with fireplace and piano.

The Osthoff Resort Adults enjoy chakra balancing at Aspira Spa and chef-led cooking classes at the lakefront lodging; families appreciate kid-friendly events (crafts classes, teen yoga).

Siebkens Resort It's the go-to hangout for the racing crowd, with a condo hotel that offers elegant, Prairie-style units with fireplaces, full kitchens and balconies.

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